LIFADCO to Lose Huge Quantities Of Cassava If…

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A local farming group, Liberia Farmers Development Cooperation (LIFADCO), is likely to lose huge quantities of cassava due to the lack of market amid prevalence of the Coronavirus disease.

The group is said to have over 300 cassava farms across Nimba County, and nearly all the farms are ready for harvest, but the lack of a market is reportedly hampering the harvest activities, bringing discouragement to about 5,000 farmers who are also placed in 216 farming group referred locally as “Kuu.”

According to the LIFADCO Director Boris Barlea, the farmers are becoming impatient and frustrated over the lack of market to sell their product

He said the raining season poses a threat to the cassava now because the root used for consumption may perish under the ground.

“We are looking for a market for our farmers to sell their cassava, but the COVID–19 lockdown is becoming an impediment for us,” he said.

“Our project is aimed at facilitating smallholder commercialization and private sector investment in agribusiness by fostering productive business linkages between smallholder farmers and interested agribusiness firm, but we are currently challenged by COVID–19 that has brought breakdown in every activity worldwide,” he added.

When the Daily Observer visited some of the farms, farmers appeared frustrated and confused over the lack of market, which is causing them to work at a loss.

“Things are not fine with us, because our cassava is spoiling.  There is no market, and everything is going back to zero,” said Karyea Tiah, one of the farmers in Buutuo.

“The cassava is good for those who are processing farina, {deepah}, fufu, and other cassava related food,” a lady only identified as Ma Annie said. “The locals do not have the capacity to purchase the cassava because it is in  huge quantity to be eaten locally.”

The Liberia Farmers Development Corporation has designed a national project to develop agriculture through collaboration with major stakeholders under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, targeting four statutory districts in Nimba, including Tappita, Saclepea, Gbehley Geh and Zoe Geh respectively.

However, LIFADCO is appealing to the national government through the Ministry of Agriculture to help find a market for their farmers or working groups to prevent their efforts going in vain.

“If nothing is done for us now, our efforts in mobilizing these farming groups will surely die down and we will be starting from nowhere,” said Josephus Toe, Project Officer.

“We are also involved in so many agriculture activities; including rice, cocoa, cotton, and palm to name few. If nothing is done for cassava farmers, the other farmers will feel weak or discouraged, especially those in vegetable farming,” he concluded.

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